Hello and good day to you. My name is Josh, and my brother and I are developing plans to build a pinball machine. At this point, we are ready to begin development on the software to control the playfield devices, and have been researching what it will take to accomplish this.
We started by thinking that we would find a way to program it on a PC and interface the devices. That is what lead me to find Arduino. This device looks like it is exactly what we want, but neither of us have any real programming experience, and zero electrical engineering, so we are learning along the way. :-?
I’ve been reading alot on the site, visited the playground, and looked at some sample code. It is starting to give me an idea of how to use Arduino, but there are some questions that I have that I have not been able to find an answer for. :-/
Most devices in a pinball mahine run on 5 volts, which sounds great since USB (I believe) delivers 5 volts. But can I really use the current from the USB to run a hundred light bulbs :question
or maybe my understanding of the 5v current is inaccurate. Pinball machines have dozens of micro-switches to tell when a target was hit (or rolled over). The micro-switch, when triggered, closes a circuit; is this closed circuit the 5v inside a pinball machine? As in, does it mean that the closed circuit is delivering a 5v signal :question
However, other devices like the solenoids that drive the flippers, run at 50 volts. Can Arduino somehow signal a relay, so that it closes and delivers 50 volts? If so, how does that happen (can you explain how the hardware would be wired). Just to be clear I only know how a relay works because of car electrical, I’ve never built any electronic devices.
Also how do I power 50 volt solenoids from a 110 power outlet? I suspect I need some kind of power transformer, is that right?
What I want to first accomplish, a proof of concept if you will, is to close a microswitch (hit a target) and have a solenoid fire because of that action. If I can get that much done, then we are very much on our way. Is someone able to describe to me how that might be done from the information I have provided so far?
Please, if you have any advice or questions for me, please post or ask. My brother and I are determined to build this pinball machine, and are willing to learn all the skill necessary to complete it. I know it it will be many, but in the end it will be worth it. Thanks.